More play time for kids is good for their BRAIN!?!
NPR recently published a great article about play and brain development. They brought together interesting research from scientists including Sergio Pellis and Jaak Panksepp and their thoughts on play. They suggest play will not only help kids become more socially adept, but could also help their grades! Here are some of the highlights from the article: "The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain," says Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. "And without play experience, those neurons aren't changed," he says. "Whether it's rough-and-tumble play or two kids deciding to build a sand castle together, the kids themselves have to negotiate, well, what are we going to do in this game? What are the rules we are going to follow?" Pellis says. The brain builds new circuits in the prefrontal cortex to help it navigate these complex social interactions, he says. Jaak Panksepp at Washington State University studies play in young animals and has found that it is more than learning life skills such as hunting, he believes play has another purpose. "The function of play is to build pro-social brains, social brains that know how to interact with others in positive ways". Free play gives children learning experiences in how to handle different social settings like what to do when someone breaks the rules of a game. The learning experience they get from play can also help them do better in the classroom. So buy that science set for your child, but also make sure you turn the box it came in into a car, or spaceship! Play, learn and laugh together. At Play for Peace we love that the science supports what we already know - that play is essential for the development of every child, especially for building connections with others. We aim to bring more play to more children around the world, especially those that live in areas of conflict, building bridges through laughter, compassion and peace. Please consider supporting our work.